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Jo van Gogh-Bonger's Preface to the Letters

"It would be really a remarkable book if one could see how much he (Vincent) has thought, and how he remained himself"

[Letter of Theo to his mother, September 8, 1890]

When as Theo's young wife I entered in April, 1889, our flat in the Cité Pigalle in Paris, I found in the bottom of a small desk a drawer full of letters from Vincent, and week after week I saw the soon familiar yellow envelopes with the characteristic handwriting increase in number.

After Vincent's death Theo discussed with me the project of publishing these letters, but death took him away ere he could begin to execute this plan.

Nearly twenty-four years passed after Theo's death before I was able to complete their publication.

Much time was necessary to decipher the letters and to arrange them; this was the more difficult because often the dates failed, and much careful thought was needed before these letters were fitted into their place.

There was another reason, however, which kept me from making them known earlier. It would have been an injustice to Vincent to create interest in his personality ere the work to which he gave his life was recognized and appreciated as it deserved.

Many years passed before Vincent was recognized as a great painter. Now it is time his personality was known and understood.

May the letters be read with consideration.

Amsterdam, January 1914.

J. van Gogh-Bonger

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